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Beware WildBlue and DirecWay

by TONI H / December 30, 2005 7:52 AM PST

satellite service contracts.

If you go to either of their websites to check packaging prices, they will show you that the packages you purchase have various bandwidth upload and download speeds for each price.

What they are NOT telling you is that in the fine print of the FAP (Fair Access Policy) link, that the 'bandwidth' you are paying for also includes a very limited amount of what I refer to as 'total monthly file size' downloads and uploads.

Every website you visit downloads information automatically, such as graphics, advertising, streaming video or music, files you want to download, news/weather tickers, e-cards using Flash, java games you play in real-time, multi-player games, etc. Now add in the bandwidth for getting your email delivered to you via Outlook Express, or if you use AIM or MSN to chat.

These are all FILES that add up to a monthly total that those ISP's are keeping track of. Now...if your package limits you to 7500MB such as the smallest package at WildBlue has on their FAP page, you will hit that limit quickly, especially if you have your own website out there somewhere (even if it's hosted by somebody else) and you download it occasionally to your harddrive as a backup. If you download a game demo that is 150MB in size and do this frequently, you will cut yourself off at the knees quickly.

To pay $40 per month for 'fast' speeds, hit your 'threshold' and then be cut off from the net or have your bandwidth speed reduced to dial-up-networking speeds is unacceptable....especially when you are not aware that there even IS a threshold when you purchase the package because they have not given you full disclosure in the packaging advertising prices when they quote the price for speed ONLY. You have to hunt on the site itself to find the true package limitations.

I purchased WildBlue six weeks ago....I had to pay for the installation equipment up front two weeks prior to the installation. I never received a copy of my contract until the installer handed it to me after the dish was already installed, set up, activated, and my account was set up on line. I received an 'abuse' email from WildBlue this morning advising me that I was close to my 11,000MB threshold and that if I went over that amount and it happened 'often' they could terminate my account for abusing it. This was the first I knew that there was a limit because the contract itself never indicates that there is one. The only way I would have known was if I went online and typed in the URL to one of the 'links' that was printed in the contract...which would have taken me to the FAP page.

I am in the process of having the installation removed and a credit issued to my credit card that was used for deceptive sales practices for not giving full disclosure on their package price page on their website and instead burying the rest of the disclosure into an obscure link on that page that one would normally expect would give the normal 'abuse' limitations and restrictions such as downloading copyrighted information or pirated movies, music, games, programs, etc. You would NOT expect to find what I found.

AND....since this morning when I went to that site, I went back again about an hour ago, and the Value package I have has abruptly been reduced down to 7500MB per 30-days instead of the 11K MB that it was this morning. According to the updated notice at the bottom it goes into effect immediately on Jan. 1, 2006.....without notice. Since I already hit 8800 when I got the abuse notice this morning, I would have already been penalized without warning......

Fortunately, I have not canceled my subscription with Starband. I've been with them for nearly 8 years now and checked their site and talked with their sales and tech support departments and they have NO limitations and never have had any. They have the normal and expected restrictions only for the $50 per month I pay them.

TONI

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Starband's VERY restrictive FAP!
by photomanz / January 13, 2006 12:12 AM PST

Sorry, but I have to disagree with the previous post. I am a current Starband customer and they ABSOLUTELY have a VERY LIMITED FAP! It is 730mb/week or 3.2gb/week for the high priced plans. I run into the FAP constantly and that is why I'm searching for a better setup. All 3 companies have their pitfalls. Starbands customer service is terrible. You can call them 3 times, and get 3 different answers. And if you have been with Starband so long, then you also know about their newsgroup. Pretty quiet these days as most have cancelled due to the VERY RESTRICTIVE FAP!

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I've had Starband for
by TONI H / January 16, 2006 8:51 PM PST

nerly 7 years now, and find nothing in their agreements on their website that indicates it's got a limited FAP. I've downloaded massive files on a regular basis with them (movies I've purchased on the net) sometimes two and three at a time, and never once got a warning from them that I had gone over any limitation. I keep up with their agreements regularly, looking for changes, and I can't find anything on their pages that links to any restrictions other than the normal ones they've always had there.

Do you have a link to the FAP that lays out what you state is happening? I have the least expensive package (originally I had the normal flat rate package for home users that was $80 per month when I first bought the setup 7 years ago....I have exactly the same package now for $50 per month). I had had the service turned off for a year while heavy construction was going on here, and they offered me the reduced price contracted to come back to them when I was ready to do so. It's been back on for over a year now, and I've done whatever I wanted to do on the net with no restrictions or limitations.

I noticed on WildBlue's FAP the other day, that they have changed their FAP again by reducing it effective March 1, 2006 down to 7500MB per month. They had actually reduced it to that on Jan 1, 2006 just before I cancelled the service and within six hours of playing a free JAVA bingo game on line (a site I've belonged to for ten years), I reached 7100MB because the site had an ad that streamed in continuously and repeatedly during that time. I was doing nothing illegal, the site was one I had belonged to for years, and all of a sudden I had used up a whole month's worth of bandwidth in six hours. I can't imagine what would have happened had I ordered a movie to download.......

Again...if you can provide the link you mentioned showing the Starband FAP limitations, I would be grateful, as that particular limitation of 730MB/week seems totally unreasonable for normal surfing since we have no control over the streaming ads that sites bring in....and you would never be able to use a stock or weather or news 'tickertape' type program which many people use.

TONI

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Starband has a FAP
by KuBand / January 30, 2006 10:01 AM PST
In reply to: I've had Starband for

The starband policy is:
"To help ensure that all members have fair and equal use of the benefits of the Service and to protect the integrity of the Service, StarBand reserves the right, and will take necessary steps, to prevent improper or excessive consumption of bandwidth used to provide the Service."
Which is found at http://www.starband.net/acceptableuse.htm
Currently, they define the limit at 732KB in a 7 day rolling window. I know, I was just throttled this last week and had to talk to their support folks to find out why. When throttled, many web sites do not load. Secure web sites absolutely do not load due to timeouts. Starband does not notify you of the throttle. They hope you do not notice the crappy degradation in service from a poor service to start with. I will be switching to Wildblue or some other broadband service very soon. The Wildblue notification and their multi GB limit look heavenly to me in comparison to Starband.

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732MB not KB
by KuBand / January 30, 2006 10:04 AM PST
In reply to: Starband has a FAP

Typo

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deceptive indeed
by sclarke1956 / June 4, 2006 8:11 PM PDT

I became a wildblue user in march 2006 and had had the basic 7500 Mb per month plan and was fap'ed in about two weeks and was still fap'ed on the first of may so I called wildblue and inquired about an upgrade went to there 17000mb plan now after two weeks of trying to use an Internet service that's slower than dial up I had a lot of questions about my upgrade like when I upgrade is my fap reset? Answer:yes. And will it reset every thirty days? Answer:yes well I was as pleased as I was ever gonna be thought there service was great although 79.95 MO. Was I little high I had no choice was the only high speed service available to me. Ok this is what happened after the upgrade I monitored by bandwidth every other day making sure I stayed under the 17000 Mb of usage per MO. I thought I was paying for so on June 1 around 2am our time I checked my usage and was around 700mb under my usage wow I thought I did it I used almost what I paid for good job I told myself always get your moneys worth like when your at the buffet. Went to bed . Got up the following day and checked my email and to my surprise there was a letter from wildblue stating that I was over my usage and I had been fap'ed . I was in disbelief but was sure I could call that great support team I spoke with when I upgraded and they would fix there mistake and my speed would be back to norm. NOT! Wow the service nothing like it was only a month ago was on hold for 45 min's. Then when I explained my problem was told that it was a fap dept. Issue but that they couldn't call them they only communicate using a ticket system but my ticket would be sent as a priority one and was advised to call back in about an hour.I did and no answer yet they must have gone to lunch and was asked to call back in another hour. I did. Guess what? No answer so a little discouraged I ask if I could have the number to there dept. And was told they don't have a number only used ticket systems to communicate but they were uncertain why my priority one issue had not been answered and was asked to please call back in an hour and that they were sure they would have an answer by then .well seems I had no choice since the people who monitor my usage must live in a cave and still use morris code I agreed and I waited 2 hours thinking the extra time would certinly be enough for them to have an answer. Called back and was on hold 1 hour and 45 min (phone has a call timer on it) and now they had no idea what I was talking about so I had to start from the beginning to explain my problem now really discouraged but still polite I explained it seems the rep I was talking to had no idea how the fap policy worked because he kept putting me on hold to find out answer's to my question's 45 min's on this call I was still nowhere so I asked to speak to whom ever he was speaking with because they may be better help for my problem. Ok I got to speak with a supervisor whom after all I had been through with this matter told me that my bandwidth was on a rolling thirty day cycle and that it never really reset and that I had not purchased 17000 Mb of data transfer per month and there was nothing she could do to help me all I could do was wait for my fap to be lifted and also (in round about words called me a liar when I told her I was told upon upgrading that my usage would be reset and then reset on the 1st of every month because it doesn't work like that and never has and unless I had other issue's this call was over ) OK now I was upset and although I used now foul language told her what I thought about her company and ended this call.when and did so research on there fap policy witch is here http://wildblue.com/legal/fair.jsp man this thing is full of flaws and misleading information but this is the one that I'm concerned with it in the last paragraph (The table below shows the monthly Usage Thresholds for each plan. These limits specify the amount of data that you can upload and download before your access speed is reduced.)ok now from the 5/1/to 6/1 it is a total of 32 days so if I can transfer via download and upload 17000 Mb per month and its a rolling 30 day plan and I checked it on the 32 day and was still under it how could I have went over my usage ? No one at wildblue can answer that so no I'm back to below dial up speeds but only now I'm paying twice what I was the first time seems a little like organized crime to me . So yes anyone who is thinking about this service read the fine print please and then have it explained to u in lamons terms cause it is very misleading indeed.


Edward Thaxton

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